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New series focused on individuals in the state’s towing industry
Company produces new towing transporter
Virginia repo agent receiving outpouring of support
Company’s “billboard and image” roams the expansive West
Self-built carrier gets one from 150’ down a hill
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJanuary 17 - January 23, 2018
Allan Humphries, 42, was murdered in Petersburg, Virginia, Jan. 11 while attempting to repossess a vehicle. Photo image:

Agent Murdered [b]Repossessing Vehicle

There's been an outpouring of support for the family of a repo agent, shot and killed while on a call Jan. 11 in Petersburg, Virginia.

Cindy and Jimmy Lee, owners of River City Recovery in Richmond, are mourning the sudden and senseless death of their beloved employee, Allan Humphries. The 42-year-old Humphries was shot in the back of the head while trying to repossess a car, according to Petersburg Police.

"The police officer had answered Allan's phone," said Cindy. "His best friend had called him to check on him and he hadn't answered the phone."

Anton Robinson, 20, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection to the shooting. The Lees said Humphries never saw it coming.

"It wasn't an altercation, because if there was an altercation, he would have left," said Jimmy. "We're all trained the same way. No vehicle is worth your life."

The couple said that Humphries leaves behind a mother, brother, son and young granddaughter.

There's been an outpouring of support from community members and towing companies across the country.

The Lees started a GoFundMe account to help the family raise money for funeral costs. After that's been paid for, any extra money donated will likely be put towards a trust fund for Humphries' granddaughter.


Repo Agent, Salesman [b]Avoid Prison

A car salesman and a repo man at a D'Iberville, Mississippi, car dealership have avoided prison in a federal investigation of the use of marijuana and gun ownership.

Salesman Steven Lamont McKinney, 46, and repo worker Otis Kinta Pittman, 37, each received a $5,000 fine at sentencing hearings Jan. 4. They also received probation and house arrest.

The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics arrested both men March 4, 2015, on drug distribution charges after an overnight search of their home. Federal agents later picked up the case over the issue of guns and the use of an illegal drug.

The men had worked for Holmes Motors for six or more years and were exemplary employees, the owner and managers told U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden in letters filed in court records.

Pittman recalled being threatened by angry customers, including one who held an AR-15 on him and some co-workers, he told the judge in a letter. A month after that, Holmes Motors called police to be on standby, he said. A customer had called to say she was coming to the dealership with a gun.

One of the dealership's repo men had been shot at while driving away with a vehicle in March 2015, one manager wrote. It happened days after the search of Pittman's home. Bullets struck the truck the repo man was driving.

MBN agents had suspected drug trafficking at Pittman's home in the Pine Hills subdivision in Gulfport. People were coming and going from the house and not staying long, a document said.

McKinney and another person were living with Pittman at the time.

Agents went through a trash can at the edge of the street and said they found part of a marijuana cigarette and some marijuana residue.

Agents broke down the front door of the home and said they found 38 grams of marijuana, two marijuana cigarettes, 14 firearms and ammunition.

The pot belonged to Pittman as did some of the guns, records show, while six of the firearms and 773 rounds of ammo belonged to McKinney.

A federal grand jury indicted them March 21. The men have remained free on bond.


Agent Shot While [b]Monitoring Cadillac

A repo agent was shot while surveying a black Cadillac that was to be repossessed at an apartment complex in San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 10.

Some residents at an apartment complex called police around 9 a.m. to report a man camped out in the parking lot in a white van.

"They're calling police, saying 'Hey, we've got a suspicious white man here who's watching the neighborhood and we have kids,' " said San Antonio Police Sgt. Malcolm Guidry.

Shortly after they made the report, a man, who has not been identified, approached the repo agent and the two got into an argument. At some point during the fight, he whipped out a gun and fired at the repo man three times, striking him once in the arm.

The repo man got back into his van and fled. Paramedics met him nearby and took him to San Antonio Military Medical Center for treatment. The wound was superficial and he's expected to recover.

The shooter has not been located at press time. Despite the suspicion the repo agent apparently raised, the shooter will still face charges once captured, as he allegedly wasn't defending himself from anything.


Agent Threatened at Gunpoint

Authorities are looking for a man who threatened a repo agent at gunpoint in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Jan. 5.

Police says a repo agent was loading a vehicle onto a wrecker when a man, identified as Jeffery Mullens, walked out of his home with a rifle.

The agent said Mullens pointed the gun at him, "demanding that he place the vehicle back like he found it."

The New Orleans Police Department said the repo agent complied and Mullens fled the scene.


Buy-Here/Pay-Here [b]Poised to Grow

Buy-here/pay-here dealers could "get back into the mix" of auto financing in 2018 after being largely shut out by increased bank competition, said Anil Goyal, executive VP of operations at Black Book.

In the first quarter of 2011, buy-here/pay-here dealers held a market share of 9.5 percent of used financing and had dropped to 6.2 percent market share by 3Q 2015, according to data from Experian. However, since then the deep subprime financiers have grown again to 11.6 percent of the market in the latest report showed. A lot of that growth can be attributed to competition falling off, Goyal said.

"The subprime market grew because the larger banks became full spectrum lenders and now they are being told that if you want to continue to grow in subprime there will be more regulations and ultimately more volatility," he said. "So they are limiting their risk appetite as both their shareholders and regulators are asking them to do so."

It's not just big banks tempering their involvement in subprime, but also the independent lenders. Losses among private equity-backed lenders have risen near levels not seen since the recession and that has triggered a pullback from providers such as Exeter and Flagship Credit Acceptance as well.

"As we saw losses in that sector tick up last year, that funding is no longer flowing freely and there is more scrutiny around it," Goyal said. "Buy-here/pay-here had found it very hard to compete when you have a full-spectrum bank lender or a specialty subprime lender — BHPH tends to be more expensive, so it was difficult to compete. But as that market becomes less competitive it becomes possible for buy-here/pay-here to expand and address the needs of that customer."


‘Thor’ Shoots at Repo Agent

Florida resident Thor Yarabek unleashed a fury of epic proportions on a repossession agent who tried to repossess his truck—storming his vehicle and firing several gunshots, according to a Jan. 2 report.

"The name of the individual that was shooting at me is Y-a-r-a-b-e-k, Thor Yarabek," the unnamed victim said in a 911 call, according to

The repo agent had been hauling away the massive man's GMC truck in Melbourne at 5 a.m. when he got out to turn off its emergency brakes, the local news site reported.

He then saw Yarabek running toward him—but instead of an enchanted hammer, he was wielding a gun, authorities told the site.

The agent, who was not injured, jumped back in his vehicle and "hauled ass," he told the 911 operator.

Yarabek later called 911, too, and reported that his truck and an attached trailer full of guns and hunting gear had been stolen from his driveway.

Yarabek was arrested for aggravated assault with a firearm, shooting a deadly missile into a vehicle and other charges after cops found a Springfield XD .45-caliber gun on his kitchen counter.

His own truck was left with a flat tire during his shooting spree, according to the site.

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